Whether you just bought your first drone or you have been flying for a while, it is important to stay current with important tips and tricks to get the most out of your hobby. You may already have some questions you need to be answered, or maybe you don’t even know where to start. No matter where you fall on this spectrum, keep reading!
Registering Your Drone
The need to register your drone depends on the size that you own. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has a requirement that you register a drone the weight falls in between .55 lbs. and 55lbs. This is not a problem for you if you have a mini-drone.
You can register your drone with the FFA official website. It costs $5 and will only take about five minutes to finish. You need to go through the official FFA website in order to avoid any scams and to avoid Civil or Criminal penalties. Once you complete registration, you will get an identification number to place on your drone.
Are There Flying Rules?
There are some rules that you need to follow when you fly your drone. You cannot fly it higher than 400 feet in the air. You must also keep the drone within eyesight for the entire flight. Having someone with you to help you follow this rule can be helpful at times. Knowing the rules about other technology used in conjunction with drones like a drone jammer is also important to be familiar with before flying.
You must also stay away from airports – a minimum of five miles away. The only exception is if you get special permission from the airport before flying. Not following this rule can mean up to a $25,000 fine or jail time for endangering an aircraft. Likewise, you can’t fly over large groups of people like at stadiums or racetracks during an event.
There are also rules about flying near National Parks. Unless you have special permission, you cannot fly in any National Parks or you could face jail time and a hefty fine. You should be sure to fly at least 25 feet away from people to maintain a safe distance. You can also not fly or photograph people if they are in a place with the expectation of privacy unless you have their permission.
You should always research where you plan to fly to make sure you are not near any No-Fly Zones like near a government facility, water treatment plant, correctional facilities, power stations, or heavily traveled freeways. You can also not fly near fires.
If you plan on using your drone to make money in some way, you also need to be sure of the rules. You will have to get an FAA Part 107 license before making any money. In order to get this license, you will have to pass an exam.
There are separate rules if you plan on flying your drone internationally, so be sure that you find out any local laws and regulations before flying in a foreign country.
Learning to Fly
Before you take out your expensive drone, you should get comfortable using a toy one first. This will give you the space to try new things, make mistakes, and crash without the fear of damaging something expensive. Once you are comfortable flying with a toy, then you can start to experiment with something a little more advanced.
You can also use a drone flight simulator in order to get more comfortable with the controls and sensation of flying. Really the only way to get good at flying is to practice! Find some good flying exercises to help you get comfortable as you gain more experience.
Utilize Online Help
If you have any questions or want to find some extra support, the internet is full of resources to help you! There are many different written tutorials as well as video tutorials to teach you all about your drone specifically and flying tips in general. You can also find a lot of support on drone forums and support groups where you can connect with other people who share your passion.
There are also places where you can find drone classes online to learn even more in-depth about caring for and using your drone. Apps for your phone can help you plan safe flights, take clear pictures, and avoid breaking flight rules.
If you are going to be taking pictures with your drone, then you need some software to edit photos and videos. There are a lot of different options available, so take the time to research to find out which one will work best for you. You want one that will be useful for the kind of footage or pictures you are taking and one that will be compatible with your level of comfort with editing software.
When you purchase your drone, you should make sure that you have the right accessories to make it a pleasant experience. Extra propellers and a charger are usually included when you purchase your drone, but it is always good to make sure you have those essentials before moving on to other purchases.
A camera is obviously at the top of the list for needed drone accessories. Flying a drone without a camera can be enjoyable, but you will be missing out a lot if you cannot enjoy the view your drone sees.
A lanyard is another must-have accessory for your drone. Most controllers have an anchor point for a neck strap, and you will find that taking advantage of it will make an enormous difference during your flights. Being able to have the controller hang from your neck while you do something that requires both hands help keep your controller safe.
You should also consider getting a helipad for your drone. If you are at home, you probably have a place where you can land and take off. If you are on the move and trying new flying spots, you may find uneven ground or muddy areas that make it difficult to fly. A helipad will keep your drone safe and clean while you explore new areas.